Excessively Positive Customer Reviews Hurt Your Conversion Rates: What Does It Mean?

Are excessively positive customer reviews hurting your conversion rates? Clear your query with the valuable information here! 

Customer reviews can be a scary thing for some marketers. However, they are crucial to the success of Amazon marketplace sellers.

The proof is that about 30% of users turn to Amazon to research products before purchasing, mostly because of buyers’ reviews. Meanwhile, only 13% of customers switch to Google.

In this article, we will learn how and why these buyer reviews are influencing your sales.

How Buyer Reviews Impact Conversions

To determine how influential buyer reviews are on conversions, a team of professors conducted a study published in the Journal of Marketing.

Specifically, they collected Amazon conversion data for 591 books with 18,682 buyer reviews. In addition, this team of professors collected data on factors that can affect Amazon PPC conversion rate, such as review volume, price, and genre.

After gathering the necessary data, they  evaluated two attributes of the reviews, including:

  • The positive or negative emotional tone of buyer reviews
  • The linguistic style of buyer reviews

As a rule, they found that negative reviews have a more substantial impact on sales than positive reviews. But it is worth mentioning that the sheer number of reviews, whatever they discussed, has a positive impact on sales.

In addition, they also show that positive star ratings have no impact on Amazon conversion rate. Instead, the content of the reviews is the primary driver of sales. It could be that each buyer has a different opinion on what counts as a 5 or 0 stars item.

On the other hand, while star ratings do not significantly affect sales, the variability in star ratings positively impacts sales.

So, what does this mean?

If buyers only see 5-star ratings, they will be suspicious. In other words, a collection of great reviews will leave customers doubting its authenticity.


The Linguistic Style of Buyer Reviews

As mentioned above, this study did not just focus on the review’s positive or negative emotional tone. In fact, they even consider the linguistic style, which can make a big difference.

The researchers did this by looking at how similar each review was to other product reviews of the same genre, based on how much certain words were used. As a result, they found that reviews using common jargon and slang tend to generate more trust.

For example, readers will find a review more trustworthy if it mentions “steampunk” or “the uncanny valley.”

On the other hand, younger customers may be interested in something “epic”.

However, this raises a question: “Can I measure “linguistic style” without text analysis software?”  Do they matter to a seller?

The short answer is yes! There are several effective ways that you can apply:

  • Take advantage of editorial reviews that match your desired linguistic style.
  • Apply the appropriate linguistic style to the product descriptions or landing page.
  • Directing the reviewer’s writing style by setting brief guidelines.

At first, you may have a bit of a hard time determining the desired linguistic style without the help of text analysis tools. So, the best thing is to test with:

  • Survey forms: Ask for feedback on linguistic style. For example, ask questions like “What do you think about the use of jargon on this site?”
  • Heatmap & behavioral data: Used to link to specific users (if possible). They indicate which customer reviews have the most substantial impact on the conversion rate.

In short, you should care about linguistic style. A positive review, which is accompanied by the right linguistic style, can have a dramatic impact on conversions.

Sort Reviews By Most Recent? Just Don’t!

Most customers will not read all the available reviews, and that is normal. Instead, they only focus on the first few reviews of them at most.

So, If you sort the reviews in a certain order, like how recent they are, there is a high chance you will miss out on some conversion opportunities.

First of all, you should not sort by the most favorable rating. As mentioned above, star ratings do not significantly affect sales. Instead, the content of the review is the factor that you need to focus on. Moreover, the variability in star ratings also strongly affects conversions, although this means you have to accept more negative star ratings.

So, here are the things you should do when organizing the posts:

  • Allow customers to rate reviews then sort them most conveniently. According to many studies, the most helpful Amazon reviews are most likely to come with the most appropriate linguistic style.
  • Show the most positive reviews from each star rating. In other words, show 1-, 2-, and 3-star ratings with content that reflects your product most positively.

Best Practices to Optimize Conversion Rates

Add Rating and Review Indicators Above the Fold

The purpose of this is to make the reviews obvious. However, you shouldn’t cram all the text from user reviews near the top of the page. All you need is to use some kind of mechanism that lets visitors know that you have reviews on your page. In general, they should appear where the user expects them to be.


Do Not Leave Out Negative Reviews

In addition to spending your best effort highlighting positive reviews, you should also care about negative reviews a little less.

As mentioned above, the best thing is that your products gain both great and bad ratings. As a result, users will be more likely to trust you and buy from you.

However, you can minimize the impact of unfavorable reviews by responding to them and attempting to resolve customer issues.

Enable Feedback for Ratings

A lot of sites ask if a review is helpful. This is because it draws more attention to the most interesting, helpful, or informative reviews.

Optimize Customer-submitted Visual Content

Photos and videos submitted by other customers play an essential role in gaining a buyer’s confidence. Therefore, it is essential to make submitting visual content more effortless.

Allow Users to Filter by Customer Type

This allows you to improve the relevance of your customer reviews. This way, buyers can quickly find the reviews that actually matter to them.


Hopefully, by now, you have a clearer view of how buyers reviews affect conversion rates. Again, as always, you will never succeed without testing. Don’t want to take the risk? You can always get help from the experts.

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